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Story of the Year (2013)

A super hero if ever there was one…

Jake is 8 years old.  He has two brothers.  He loves super heroes.  He loves Toys R Us.  He loves being silly.

But he is no ordinary 8-year-old boy.  Because Jake is currently fighting brain cancer and has been for more than a year.  On July 12, 2011, Jake had a seizure.  In the coming days, Jake would have an MRI, a spinal tap, and a brain biopsy in order to determine the cause of a mass or swelling that was detected in his brain.  On July 27, 2011, at 7 years old, Jake was diagnosed with a very aggressive brain tumor called Gliomatosis Cerebri.  His family was told he would likely have 6 months to a year left.  In the year since the seizure that marked the beginning of this journey, Jake has undergone oral chemotherapy, radiation therapy, IV chemotherapy, several MRIs, and a second brain surgery – this time to place a VP shunt to relieve pressure in his head.

Since the second surgery, Jacob’s condition has declined.  He has much more pain and much more weakness.  Over the last couple months, his doctors have advised his family to focus on palliative treatment – keeping Jake as comfortable as possible for as long as possible.  And while his family is doing that, they have not given up hope for a treatment that will help Jake.

As Jake’s mother said regarding their snazzy FUCANCER shirts: “Is this inappropriate? Maybe. Do we mean it? HELL yes!”

On Monday, July 16, 2012, Jake and his family headed to Germany where they have learned of more hopeful treatments that have had promising results against other glioma tumors.  The cost surpassed $25,000.  And while that sounds like a lot, what price tag can a parent put on the health of their child?

Jake “The Hero” Grecco, has already endured so much and has done so with more grace and good humor than could ever be expected of a child.  When asked recently if he needed anything, Jake replied: “To get better, that’s what I need…”  He has spent one-eighth of his life fighting this villainous brain tumor.  And now the super hero needs help.  Jake’s family and friends have set up a website called “Team Jacob” where donations can be made to help with the cost of the treatment Jake received in Germany.  So many amazing people have contributed, that in a week’s time about 50% of the $25,000 goal has been met. A cousin of Jake’s said: “This family does not have time to wait for the counter to hit $25,000 before seeking treatment in Germany. …… Go now, Super Jake. We’ve got your back.”


Jake in Germany:

Jacob is a fighter.  And in that spirit, his family chose to seek alternative treatment in Germany with the hope of slowing or halting the progress of the vicious cancer in his brain.  Through the efforts of hundreds, if not thousands, of wonderful people in the days leading up to and following the posting of Jacob’s Story, over $25,000 was raised in less than 2 weeks to send Jake and his mother to Germany.

Jake and his mom doing a puzzle at the hospital in Germany:

On Monday, July 16th, Jake and his mother travelled across the world to begin treatment.  And for a few days there was marked improvement.  Jake was able to eat better, sit up on his own, talk more, and generally interact more with those around him — things he had not been able to do for some time.

However, since that initial burst of energy, Jacob’s condition has deteriorated rapidly.  On Saturday, July 28th, Jake’s family was told that he would not make it through the night.  But once again, our Super Hero continues to defy the odds.  He is still holding on.  And though his doctors in Germany are doing all they can to make Jake as comfortable and pain-free as possible in these last days, his family needs to bring him home.  This is not a journey Jake and his mother should have to undertake thousands of miles from their loved ones.  His father and brothers, his stepfather and stepbrothers all deserve the chance to say goodbye to this brave little boy face to face, holding his hand.  His mother needs to be surrounded with loving arms, not virtually but physically.  Jacob has fought valiantly for over a year. He has earned the right to be home with his entire family.

A tired super hero…

Because of Jake’s current condition, he is not able to travel home commercially.  His family is doing everything in their power to secure private medical air transport to get Jacob home safely and quickly.  But they are racing against time.  The trip home will cost approximately $60,000 to ensure that Jacob has the medical assistance that is needed.  Already they are close to $40,000 — and $14,000 of that has been raised in one day alone ($9,000 within less than 7 hours).  If you are able to help financially, please — any amount brings Jacob and his mother that much closer to home.

The following links will take you to Team Jacob’s donation website (where you can read more of his story which his family keeps updated) and to Team Jacob’s Facebook page where fundraising efforts are continually updated.

Jake's site’s:

 http://jacobthehero1.wix.com/teamjacob
                http://4kforcancer.org/blog/dear-jake/

Even if you cannot contribute, please consider sharing these pages as well as this post with your circle of family and friends, by email or Facebook or any other way you can.

The blog is called Basic Humanity.  And I can think of nothing more basic or more human than life itself.  Jake deserves a long, happy, healthy life.  Jake’s two brothers deserve to grow up with him, not missing him.  Jake has already beaten the odds he was given.  He needs our help to continue beating them.  So, please…from the depths of my heart…if you can spare any amount, your gift could truly mean LIFE for this amazing little man.  Thank you, from Jake’s family and from Basic Humanity.

If you Google Jake The Hero Grecco you will find many stories. He was a mascot for the Seton Hall Pirates' swim and dive teams last fall. And the 4K for Cancer (4KforCancer.org) are are dedicating their 4,000 mile bike ride from Baltimore to Portland for him.



Written By:                                                                      

Jakes Cousin, Barry Sherry                                  

Woodbridge, VA                                                       

Survivor (Class of '09)                                                   

Daniel Carroll

 

On November 7, 2004; a young man, Daniel Carroll, took "life at a glance." He was involved in a major car accident on I-95, right in front of the exit for Quantico Marine Corps Base.

Running home that Sunday after being out all morning with his father, a sudden pause in their life had happens.

Daniel (Front passenger) and his father (Driver) had hit a lady from behind. Daniel, being awake through this whole tragedy, offers to share his story with the world to make a difference. He hopes to make a difference in everyone's lives. Daniel does not care about fame or who knows him, he only cares about helping.

There pick-up truck in which they had been riding in, flipped over about 4 times, coming to a stop on the passenger side with Daniel's arm caught out of the window, under the truck. With the pick-up not fully stopping, it then had slid for roughly 80 feet with Daniel being trapped.

Daniel says he remember two men coming to their aid. One is a Virginia State Trooper; the other is a U.S. Marine.

They both worked together to flip the pick-up back over on its tires. Someone had called for an ambulance, having to call back to tell the 9-1-1 operators that they need a medevac because of how bad the injuries were.

Daniel was lucky, a few doctors had just been relieved of duty, some of the best doctors at that. They had gratefully given up there time to go back, not knowing anything of in which happened, just to save another life.

Daniel's mother had been called with unbearable news of her son being in a car accident. After being confused about the whole thing, his mother rushed to the hospital. Upon arrival, she had come into contact with a few doctors, saying, "Your sons arm has to be amputated." She said, "Do whatever needs to be done to save my son."

Daniel was rushed to emergency surgery, where his right arm was amputated above the elbow. The doctor had also had to sew up his face, where two major holes were.

After the accident, while in the hospital, needless to say; Daniel had much time to think. He thought to himself if he weren’t to awake after this accident, is that how he wanted to be portrayed as to the world? As a 9 year old boy that did not have much life, die in a car accident on the side of I-95. "No!" Was Daniel's answer; He wanted to be known for doing something with his life. This made him pick "it" up. So he did, starting right there and then.

Daniel had to go through months of therapy.

After months in the hospital, he was released.

Daniel wanted to continue what he had been doing before his accident. He was told much of what he was doing he will never be able to do again, such activities included playing soccer, wrestling, day to day physical activities and much more. Daniel had decided that every time he hears the words "can't or never," he will do his best to prove whom ever said such a thing, wrong; which in most cases he has. He has went on with his "disability," as some call it, to become a well-rounded young man; participating in programs and activities in school such as AFJROTC, Air Force C.A.P. division, C. D. Hylton Varsity Football, also becoming a motivational speaker in the Northern Virginia/Tri-state area and many volunteer programs.

Daniel not only being in this accident which made him think of life in a different way, he has had many other Tragedies.

When Daniel was only five years old he was playing in the living room of his house, when he had tripped over his sister. Daniel had hurt himself pretty bad. His Mother rushed him to the emergency room, with doctor's announcing that Daniel had a spiral fracture. The spiral fracture was to his femur; the femur (pl. femurs or femora), or thigh bone, the femur is found only in the rear legs or lower. The femur is the largest bone in the body. The head of the femur articulates with the acetabulum. Daniel was put in a full body cast for 2 months for recovery.

He has his future set in his mind, wanting to become an Hawaii State Trooper, part time producer, actor, song and book writer and eventually going into politics and running for high offices such as Governor and Presidential positions.

To find out more about Daniel's life story (There is much more) look for his upcoming book "Life At A Glance." Publishing date yet to be decided, stay tuned.

 

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